This is a 2018 case from Gujarat, however, important for all Men fighting divorce/maintenance litigation at court. One must clearly note that banks are not authorised to hand over your account statement to any third party, even if it happens to be your ex or current wife without your authorisation. The bank can only part with the same with you or third party, if there is a court order instructing them to share the same with concerned.
A nationalised bank in Ahmedabad was fined Rs 10,000 by a consumer court for providing husband’s bank details and account statement to his wife – without his consent.
Dinesh Pamnani was a customer of Indian Overseas Bank, from where his account statements of past three years were handed over to his wife without his consent or any authority letter. The man was amidst a legal battle with his wife and hence, he did not want her to have access to his personal account details. Nonetheless, when the bank passed on all the information to third party (wife) without notifying the man, he decided to sue the bank and thus approached Ahmedabad District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum (ADCDRF).
On December 6, 2018, ADCDRF directed Indian Overseas Bank to pay a sum of Rs 10,000 to Pamnani, their account holder of Sardarnagar Hansol branch.
Earlier that year, on May 6, 2018, Pamnani received messages on his mobile phone from the bank. The messages were notifications from the bank about Rs 103 deducted from his account. After a couple of days, when Dinesh enquired about the same with the bank officials, he was told that his wife, Harshika, had sought his bank statements, and hence, the charge was levied in the system.
The couple was undergoing a legal dispute, thus Pamnani argued in the consumer court that his wife could misuse his personal bank statement in the family court to her advantage.
Pamnani raised an objection how could the bank hand over his official statements and transactions to his wife without his authorisation. The man alleged deficiency in service on part of the bank in the consumer court.
The bank, on the other hand, defended themselves stating that the wife had come to the branch as the client’s agent, and thus they gave her the bank statements as a part of ‘good service’ to their client. The bank said that they only wanted to assist the client and had no ill intention while doing so.
However, Pamnani’s advocate CA Modi argued that the bank cannot provide such a statement to any third party without the account holder’s authorization, and it was certainly a violation of the client’s privacy. He also mentioned Harshika could go to the family court presenting these details of the bank account of his client, and that would damage his client’s prospects in the maintenance litigation.
The court after hearing both sides stated that according to the guidelines of the Reserve Bank of India and bank rules, IOB was not supposed to have given the statements to a third party without the account holder’s permission in an authorization letter. The wife did not carry an authorization letter, thus it was the duty of the bank to maintain privacy of their account holder.
For causing pain, agony and legal expenditure to the man, consumer court ordered the bank to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation to him.